An online public-awareness campaign launched this week takes aim at sexual misconduct and abuse in equestrian sport, and changing how these issues often are ignored, minimized or wrongly blamed on the victim.
Announced Monday, the collaboration among Horse Network, the Wrigley Media Group and the Kehring family, who are involved in SafeSport and criminal allegations against show jumper Rich Fellers, has launched #WeRideTogether, a series of digital PSAs and an in-depth microsite designed to empower, inform, and unite the equestrian community.
#WeRideTogether gives a voice to survivor stories, provides resources to report abuse and get help, and offers educational information for athletes, coaches and families, organizers said in a press release announcing the launch. The microsite will be updated on an ongoing basis to provide a safe place for survivors to share their experiences.
“#WeRideTogether was developed as a multifaceted campaign to promote transparent and safe dialogue within the industry, help shift the imbalance of power between coach and athlete, and raise awareness for the many forms grooming and abuse can take,” said Lauren Kay, #WeRideTogether spokesperson. “Sadly, sexual abuse of minors is common in all sports. We are proud that the equestrian community has taken a bold step forward to be the leader in true change that all coaches and competitors can understand and embrace.”
Central to the campaign is the four-part #WeRideTogether PSA series, produced by Wrigley Media Group and distributed through Horse Network’s digital platform and social media channels. The series features commentary from youth protection advocate and expert, Les Nichols, first-person interviews from sexual abuse survivors and more.
“Our mission at Horse Network is to grow horse sport. When we protect young athletes, we protect the future of the sport—it’s as simple as that,” said Carley Sparks, Editor-in-Chief, Horse Network. “We’re incredibly proud to be part of the amazing team working to shed light on this important topic and grateful to the brave survivors who have entrusted us with their stories.”
“I have devoted the better part of my life to equestrian sport—it’s part of my DNA,” says Misdee Wrigley Miller, CEO, Wrigley Media Group. “Wrigley Media Group is committed to do doing our part in giving victims a voice and helping to raise awareness to an issue that has been avoided far too long. In order for this sport to continue to thrive, it is up to us, who are immersed in its community, to facilitate change. We intend to do just that.”
#WeRideTogether is intended to increase accountability from trainers and coaches, give survivors a safe platform for their voice, and help diminish the stigma and fear of coming forward.
Visit WeRideTogether.Today to learn more.